Sri Lanka

Programme areas and target groups

  • Northern Sri Lanka: Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu
  • Eastern Sri Lanka: Batticaloa, Ampara

In Sri Lanka, we work with re-settled domestic communities, returnees from India and migrant refugees. We focus on female headed households, farmers, fishermen, livestock farmers, vulnerable families due to disability, domestic and gender based violence or mental health issues.

We also work with Community based organisations (CBOs), such as Farmer Organisations, Fishermen Cooperative Societies, Women Rural Development Societies, Community Centres and Self Help Groups (SHGs). In Sri Lanka, ZOA is active in:

  • Food security & Livelihoods
  • Peacebuilding
  • Education

What we do in Sri Lanka

The civil war in Sri Lanka ended about a decade ago. But communities in the Eastern and Northern part of Sri Lanka still struggle to fully participate in social and economic development. They face challenges of social exclusion, economic isolation, ethnic tensions and trauma. Our programme is designed to maximize lasting change in the lives of beneficiaries and to build the capacity of partners, and communities.

ZOA prioritises the creation and strengthening of Civil Society Organisations and self-help groups (SHGs) at all levels. By the end 2019, there were 950 well-functioning Self Help Groups. In these groups, participants learn good financial practices while we also promote conflict resolution and nonviolent collective engagement.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

Since 2017, we work with 2500 fishermen to improve their lives though improved fishing practices, 125 cattle farmer as model farmers who get sufficient income through semi-intensive farm practices and 250 agriculture farmers  to improve the productivity in peanut cultivation via mechanization and improved fram practices. We also work with 60 CSOs who engage with the above livelihood communities and help for collective production and market opportunities.

ZOA’s programme has moved on from addressing lack of access to basic services, to development in all sectors through capacity building, peace building and education.

More than 60 model farmers succeeded in upgrading their milk production and earn a sustainable income. We are now expanding the project. Within the fishing communities, we have worked to break the cycle of debt that kept them in poverty. So far, over 400 fishermen are free from debt. We work towards the establishment of a fair-trade market system.


In Sri Lanka, ZOA is also active in the field of education. We intensively work  with more than 2600 students to improve their IT and language skills. ZOA, through one of the partner (OPEnE) in collaboration with Provincial Education Department, Northern Province has introduced an E-learning system and developed booster course with 100 self leaning sessions to improve English Language. This is being pilot in 22 schools initially and this will be benefitted for more than 17500 students in future.

Women empowerment

Women empowerment and equal opportunities is another important subject in our programme. In response to legislation that municipal and urban councils should consist of at least 25 percent female elected members, we trained 90 women to represent their communities. Twenty of them contested in local elections and five were elected in February 2018. It was a big step forward to representation of women. The process of empowering women is still on going and another 120 women are actively participating in capacity building sessions.

Partners and donors

With funding from:

EU, GIZ, UNHCR, MM Foundation, ZOA Netherlands and ZOA Business  Ambassadors.

In cooperation with:

FOSDOO, ESCO, OPEnE, BEdS, Y Gro, SLCDF, Sirakugal, OISD, F3.